About How the Rocks Began to Speak
by Len Alberstadt
6.14 x 9.21 inches; Perfect Bound;
312 pages , $19.95
THERE CAN BE LITTLE DOUBT that we live in a time when science looms large in our lives.
The last two centuries could be thought of as the “age of science,” and the reasons
that brought about that age are many and complex. The history of the development of this
science has been studied and written about by many people and they have done so for
different reasons and with different points of view.
As for this book, the author's purposes are several, but all are related. The first is to give
the reader a brief overview of some of the main events that brought about this age of
science; the second is to give the reader a sense of how science, and scientists work, and,
the third, but somewhat more restricted, yet, nonetheless, related, is to give the reader some
insights into the main events in the history of the science of geology and describe some of the important ramifications of the truths that geologists, as
scientists, have contributed to the body of scientific knowledge.
It is important to recognize that geology is a science that concerns itself with things that are somewhat more historical than much of physics,
chemistry, and biology. At its heart geology is a historical science, and many, if not all, of its concerns involve the element of time and sequences of
events. For this reason the early development of geology required a slightly different approach from that required by the other science disciplines. But
make no mistake, the fundamental methodology used by geologists is the same as that used by any scientist working in any scientific discipline. That
methodology came about largely in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and is still the methodology in use today, by all scientists. The ultimate
goal here is to provide the reader with a broad framework for understanding the history of that method and its role in geology and in science in
About the Author
Len Alberstadt is professor
emeritus at Vanderbilt University.
He presently resides in Kingston
Springs, TN and can be reached
From Top To Bottom -
A Small Science Department's 120-Year Struggle to Develop and
Survive at Vanderbilt University (1875-1995)
by Leonard Alberstadt
Publisher: Eggman Publishing, Inc.; 1995
Edition: Perfect bound; 212 pages; 6 x 9 inches
From Top To Bottom is an account of the science of geology at Vanderbilt from the founding
days of the institution up to the present. It begins in 1873 when Bishop Holland McTyeire
appointed the best faculty available to him. In geology it was a faculty that made the
department one of the best in the institution. This story takes the reader through the decades
during which critical curriculum decisions were made and new priorities regarding medical
education took stronger hold on the university.
The arrival of big science after WWII drove geology downward even more until in the early
1970's the department came close to being abolished. Since then, especially with the financial
help of some alumni, it has been making a comeback, and today there may be a glimmer of
hop for meaningful rebirth. It shows those times of administration apathy which slowly, yet
methodically, helped relegate geology to second-class status.
This is a case history depicting many of the academic trials of faculty, students, and
administrators, both past and present, as they grappled with changing missions and
expectations within a major research university.
6x9 inches, Perfect bound
424 Pages, $21.95
Delsin Cole, the only son of an Oklahoma rancher, is a talented high school football
player raised in small town Poncomma. He is recruited by almost every university in the
country with a major football program. When he decides to forego all the schools with
their “bigger than life” athletic notoriety to cast his lot with Vanderbilt University almost
everyone in Poncomma is shocked and disappointed.
Feeling this outside pressure and expectations of athletic greatness he is also troubled
because his leaving for college comes at a bad time. His family is in a battle with State
officials who want to force the sale of part of the Cole ranch for the construction of a
large lake and regional recreational park. This prospect is wearing on Delsin’s father and
Delsin feels helpless to help him, and somewhat reluctant to leave home.
Once at Vanderbilt Delsin’s new environment takes some getting used to; there are new
attitudes, students, professors, and new circumstances which he must face. He meets
Patty. Elegant and poised, she brings to him new feelings that he cannot shake off. He
struggles with them while trying to move into a full life as a student and football player
where he must cope with the demands each requires.
Delsin also meets Benny Bromono, a young man ten years his senior who seems worldly
and sophisticated, yet possessing a mysterious bit of wiliness. Delsin is almost transfixed
by Benny’s manner and capabilities. It is Benny who affects the fortunes of the Cole
family and it is Benny and all his wiliness who is instrumental in Delsin’s very survival.
It is largely because of Delsin’s ability as a football player that he winds up at Vanderbilt.
What happens to him leads ultimately to bringing Vanderbilt University and the people of
Poncomma, Oklahoma to a unique relationship.